This previous May, Alicia Keys wrote a piece for Lena Dunham’s Hearst Media publication, Lenny Letter, discussing her feelings on going makeup-free.
In her piece, Time to Uncover, she wrote, “Women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women … Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.”
Alicia ends the piece with her realization, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
The months following her article being published, she was seen at events with a fresh face, and her movement quickly spread.
My Experience Going Makeup-Free
Since her VMA appearance where she arrived radiant and without makeup, I have been interested in following in her footsteps, and beginning in Mid-October, I did just that. I have always been happy with my skin and was never self-conscious of not wearing makeup, but I still thought I was prettier with than without it. You would almost never see me not adorning my typical gold eye-shadow and carbon black massacre, but being the beauty experimenter I am, I was up for the challenge.
For four weeks, I never once picked up my foundation, lipstick or even highlighter (which was probably the biggest challenge for me). My face, for a little less than a month, was make up free.
This experience led to a multitude of realizations. First being that not wearing make up didn’t make me any less pretty. I felt beautiful, and I genuinely believe that anyone participating in a makeup-free month, week or even day, would feel the same. Taking a step back from applying, coating and powdering actually gives you even more confidence.
Another notable realization was that no one thought I “looked tired.” If me or my friends ever took a makeup-free day in middle school, we would be bombarded with the statement, “you look tired.” When I started my four weeks, I was prepared to take a tally of every time someone made that statement, and to my surprise, that did not happen once. Quite frankly, some people didn’t even notice.
As a whole, the many days that lacked makeup made me realize that makeup is not as important as I once thought. But don’t get me wrong, once the four weeks ended, I was back to wearing makeup. Now, a couple days out of the week, I will go completely makeup-free.
Skin Care Tips From a Professional
The experience didn’t end there, though. One of the other influential motivations for starting this challenge was an article in W Magazine titled Meet the Woman Behind Alicia Keys’ No Makeup Look and Glowing Complexion. The piece introduced us to Dotti, a famous organic and natural make up artist who has Keys’ as one of her elite clients. She discusses Alicia’s regimen to keeping her skin radiant. After reading the the article chock-full of beauty secrets, I quickly decided that I would take on this piece of the challenge as well. I made a list of my three favorite suggestions and tried them.
First on the list was jade rolling. Essentially, a jade roller is a massage cylinder made out of the a jade crystal. When you wake up in the morning, you run this over the area prone to wrinkles on your face, specifically your under eyes. Dotti recommends sticking the roller in ice, so the blood will flow to the surface of your face when you use it. This will also aid in tightening the skin. I bought my roller from White Lotus, and it is the best beauty purchase I have made in a long time. I use it every single morning; it instantly brings life to my face when I wake up. This useful beauty tool is my savior for not looking tired when I arrive to my 9 a.m. class.
The next beauty secret is face oils. Some of you may be thinking oily skin is a bad thing, right? No! Oil is so important for your skin, because it keeps it happy, healthy and clear, especially as winter comes around. Dotti suggests jojoba oil, but there are plenty of other oils that will work just as well. My go-to is Aveda’s tulasāra™ radiant oleation oil. This oil is a blend of six plant-based oils. For some oils, including radiant oleation, you apply and then wait 20 minutes before washing off. Others, such as rosehip oil and argon oil, you apply a few drops and keep on all day. Each have different benefits for different skin types, so do some research before landing on your desired oil.
Lastly, Dotti talked about masks. This one seems a bit more obvious and not as much of a secret, but it is an important one that we need to be reminded of. My masks of choice are Mario Badescu’s Flower and Tonic mask and all of Tony Moly’s mask sheets. Dotti’s preferred mask contains probiotics. Because I didn’t have any probiotic masks laying around, I decided to make my own. You mix one teaspoon of your chosen oil and the powder from two probiotic pills and apply to your face. There is a vast amount of benefits that come from apply probiotics to your skin, including reducing redness and helping with acne.
What I Learned
This full four weeks of not relying on makeup and continuing to better my skin through new routines has been an amazing experience. Thanks to Alicia Keys, I have come to not only realize but embrace the fact that I don’t need makeup. I have also improved the clearness and the overall health of my face through jade rolling, facial oils and face masks. I would highly recommended implementing the beauty secrets and participating in this #NoMakeup movement, whether it be for six days or six months. If you need a little motivation, head over to Alicia’s Instagram where each and every photo serves as inspiration for taking care and loving your skin.